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Worst RB matchups for fantasy football in Week 5

Pete Hernandez takes you through the worst RB matchups heading into Week 5.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 24: Miles Sanders #6 of the Carolina Panthers stiff arms Quandre Diggs #6 of the Seattle Seahawks during the first quarter at Lumen Field on September 24, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. Photo by Christopher Mast/Getty Images

Running backs remain one of the most vital positions to fill in a fantasy football lineup, but that doesn’t exclude them from having an off game here and there. Last week was no exception, as Joe Mixon (RB30), James Conner (RB36), and Miles Sanders (RB39) finished well below double-digit fantasy scoring, throwing a wrench into their fantasy managers' game plans.

To help prepare, and avoid the worst-case scenario, we have the breakdown on which tailbacks could face an uphill battle against their opponents in Week 5.

Fantasy football, Week 5: Worst RB Matchups

Miles Sanders vs. Detroit Lions

Sanders is coming off his worst performance of the season, totaling just 6.2 PPR fantasy points off of 32 combined yards from scrimmage. The road ahead doesn’t look much easier, as he faces off with a Lions team that is allowing the fewest rushing yards per game (60.8) and the fifth-fewest fantasy points per game (10.4) to running backs.

If Carolina plays from behind early, Sanders’ only saving grace will be staying involved as a pass catcher.

Dameon Pierce vs. Atlanta Falcons

Pierce faces a tall task in a Falcons defense that has been solid against the run so far. Through four games, Atlanta is allowing just 10.2 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, highlighted by allowing zero touchdowns to the position. C.J. Stroud’s emerging rapport with wide receivers Nico Collins and Tank Dell could also throw a wrench into Pierce’s fantasy upside this week.

Tony Pollard vs. San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco’s vaunted defense is giving up the third-fewest rushing yards per game (66.0) while allowing just 12.0 fantasy points per game to the position. Last week, Cardinals running back James Conner was limited to 52 yards on 11 carries, with his longest run of the day clocking in at 11 yards.

The 49ers’ front seven could force Dak Prescott to get the ball out early and often, which means Pollard’s best bet at staying fantasy-relevant is maximizing any use in the receiving game.